- Beginner’s guide to meditation -

“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” – T.S.Eliot

What a beautiful quote to explain the practice of meditation.

Put more simply, meditation is the practice of mindfulness. It asks that you make time to draw your attention silently toward all that is you. It asks that you allow space to be empty, including emptying your mind.

Meditation is often thought of in the context of religion, such as Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism, as a pathway to spiritual enlightenment.

It is also practised in the pursuit of optimal health and wellbeing, recognising that this is obtained by achieving balance between mind, body and spirit. If you are not religious, the concept of spirit might seem puzzling but it is simply all that you are. Your spirit is your soul, your core, your most authentic self. Turning inward to listen to its needs and desires is kind and restorative; loving and strengthening.

There are many types of meditation to consider but a commonality between them is often a connection to breath, either while sitting still or through purposeful movement such as tai chi. Other practices might ask you to focus on an object, use visualisation, be guided or employ a mantra.

Whichever method of meditation you use, it is recommended you take 20 minutes twice a day to practice it in order to recover and rejuvenate from activity and stress. Amazingly, during those 20 minutes your body has the opportunity to access the rest achieved during a full eight-hour sleep cycle.

As with most health-related practices, there is no time like the present to get started. It is definitely worth seeing a qualified professional in this area for guidance but you can also start by yourself by doing the following:

  • Find a quiet place to relax comfortably in
  • Connect with your breath – counting slowly and evenly to five on your inhalation, and again on your exhalation
  • Think of someone you love, and imagine them sending love to you
  • Gently send all other thoughts away, continuing to focus back on your breath whenever these thoughts present themselves

Best wishes for your path to mindfulness. Your body will thank you in a multitude of ways.

Post by: Dr. Carolina Gonzalez (TCM)